Book blurb: One late fall afternoon, a tragic highway accident leaves eleven-year-old Abby and her beloved Shetland sheepdog, Tam, stranded at opposite ends of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Though each is determined to be reunited with the other, the days separating them turn to weeks, then months, and dangers and changes fill up Abby's and Tam's lives. Will they ever find their way back home to one another?
Classic in its themes and contemporary in its telling, Bobbie Pyron's A Dog's Way Home is the unforgettable tale of the many miles, months, and mountains that separate two loyal friends—but that can't possibly keep them apart.
We welcome author Bobbie Pyron.
Guided by Voice: writing across the spectrum
I’m frequently asked, “Did you always want to be a writer?” The answer is I did, once I discovered the worlds between the cover of a book. Before that, I wanted to be a mermaid, a frog, and a cowgirl. None of those occupations worked out for me. But once I fell passionately and completely in love with reading, I couldn’t imagine anything more wonderful than being an author.
My occupational life took many twists and turns before I wrote anything beyond really bad poetry and navel gazed through journaling. Finally, about six years ago, I encountered a patron at the library with a really unusual name. That name danced and danced in my head, nearly driving me crazy. A few weeks later, I was running on a treadmill when these words popped in my head, jogging along in time to my feet:
Way out west where the cold wind blows
And the sagebrush rolls and the coyotes cry
Lived a cowboy named Ditty D. McGee.
That refrain eventually became a picture book. A pretty darned good picture book (although it’s never been published)! So I wrote picture books for the next two years because those were the stories that were given to me. I went to workshops, joined a critique group and worked hard at the craft of picture book writing.
Until one day, at a writer’s retreat, as I worked away on revising a picture book, I heard a snarky teenage girl talking in my head about how much her life “totally and completely sucked.” She sounded suspiciously like my then fifteen-year-old stepdaughter. As much as I tried to push the girl’s voice away, she wouldn’t shut up. Finally, I wrote her story. This would eventually become my first published book, The Ring, an “edgy” teen novel that in no way resembles a picture book.
While The Ring was marinating in my desk drawer, I was out hiking in the mountains with my two dogs. I watched how they interacted with each other, the wilderness, and me. I thought about how my obsessively devoted sheltie, Teddy, never ever leaves my side; on the other hand, Boo, my coyote mix, is always ranging far beyond the trail. What would Teddy do if he ever had to survive in the wilderness alone? A bit later, a young girl’s voice whispered urgently in my ear about losing her much beloved sheltie in a terrible car accident up on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the winter. Thus, A Dog’s Way Home, was born—a book solidly in the junior fiction category.
I’ve heard many editors, agents, and published authors warn that you “shouldn’t” write across the age spectrum. “Your readers need to know what to expect from you,” they admonish. “We need to be able to brand you as a certain kind of writer,” they explain. I’d like to say its been a conscious decision on my part to not do what’s “expected”, to refuse to be “branded.” After all, I am a child of the sixties. But the plain truth is, I am at the mercy of the voices. I don’t set out thinking that I’ll write another teen novel, or picture book, or middle grade story. I don’t think about the age of the intended audience at all when I’m writing that first draft. My first obligation is to the story.
Over the years, working as a librarian, one of the interesting and heartening things I’ve observed is the blurring of the lines between age groups. Teens read kid’s books, kids read teen books, and adults read everything. I suppose we have Harry Potter to thank for that. I’ve met with adult book clubs who’ve read my books and kid’s book clubs. It doesn’t matter to them that I didn’t have a particular age group in mind when I wrote the book. They just cared that I wrote books that were good and true. Many of my readers (young and old) have assured me they will follow me anywhere my books take them. That’s good: my next book, Mercy’s Bone, is set in Russia. And I couldn’t begin to tell you what age it’s for. But it is good. And it is true.
We are having a giveaway of one paper copy of A Dog's Way Home to a U.S. or Canadian reader. One winner will be chosen at random, leave a comment below and your email address. This contest will close on October 25th.
Thanks to Bobbie Pyron and Virtual Author Book Tours.